(Phil Hughes: Rotation Life Raft. Courtesy of the AP)
It's good to know that the ESPN trolling of the Yankees and Yankee fans hasn't lost any of its zing now that the Fraud Sawx are less than an afterthought in the AL East. I'm sitting in Hooters last night with a couple guys from work (classy) watching SportsCenter, and they're going on and on and on about how the Orioles "just seized control of the division with another dramatic walk-off win." Ummm, they didn't "seize" anything. They were up by 1/2 a game and the Yankees hadn't even played their game yet. Let's wait for the outcome of that game before we just declare Baltimore the AL East champion for the day, huh? Oh, and then Phil Hughes came out last night and shat all over ESPN and Baltimore's little 1/2 game lead party.
- After being blanked through 3 innings, the Yankee offense did one of its patented "good but not enough" scoring innings in the 4th, loading the bases on an A-Rod single and a couple of walks but only scoring a single run on an Andruw Jones sac fly.
- The good news for them was that Hughes was locked in last night. He sat the first turn of the Bahhston lineup down in order, managed to pitch a shutdown inning after the Yanks scored in the 4th (yay!), and dominated with mostly his fastball.
- He was in the lineup at DH after aggravating his bone bruise the other night, and Derek Jeter came through with a big RBI single in the 7th to tack on an insurance run. That's leadership, folks.
- Hughes mixed in some more changeups and sliders in the later innings, and pitched into the 8th before coming out after getting an out and giving up a double to the dreaded Pedro Ciriaco. 7.1 innings of shutout ball is damn good, no matter how crappy the opposing lineup is.
- Joe played matchup with his bullpen A-team to finish the 8th, got the ball to Soriano for the 9th, and it was untuck time in a hurry. Sorry to spoil your celebration, Baltimore, but you're still tied for first place.
- Lotta good milestone notes from last night. Hughes made his 100th career start, Jeter's RBI single tied him with Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hits list with 3,283, and A-Rod's 1,888th career run tied him with Lou Gehrig for 9th all-time.
- Hughes: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, W. Great night for Hughes and he did it without really trying to be great. He worked off the fastball a lot and he had a good one with late life last night. That was enough to keep the Bahhston hitters at bay so Hughes didn't try to do too much with it. Just throw strikes, mix in some offspeed stuff here and there, and good things can happen.
- Alex Rodriguez: 2-5, 1 R, 1 SB, 1 K, 3 LOB. Helped create the first Yankee run with his stolen base in the 4th. That's 12 on the year for A-Rod, a good sign that his legs have been feeling good and are still plenty healthy for this stretch run.
- Curtis Granderson: 0-4, 3 K, 5 LOB. Helped contribute to another terrible 1-9 w/ RISP performance. Guess those 2 homers the other night were just a mirage.
The Yanks will come back home tonight to start a 3-gamer against the Rays. They've put a little more distance between themselves and Tampa the last 2 games, and they have a chance to deal a major blow to the Rays' division and playoff chances with a series win this weekend. CC Sabathia and David Price kick it off tonight.